It was a bumper program at Caulfield for Cup Day on Saturday. Another feature race day, another afternoon marred by bias controversy, with runners attempting to make ground out wide on the course, for the most part, struggling to do so.
There were highlights, there were highlights. Here is my wrap of the meeting.
Race One: Resimax Group Plate 1400m
Tempo- Sub 47 for the first 800m of the race, so Naantali and Our Crown Mistress certainly set a genuine tempo in front, seemingly giving those from behind a fair crack at running them down.
Big Tick- Counterplay was a sectional star for the second time in a week. From the 1200m onwards, she clocked the fastest splits of the race. The problem with her has been bad gates. If she draws a gate, she probably wins.
Future- I think Naantali is a really nice filly for the future. I’m not sure leading is her go, but she toughed it out really well and was coming again on the line. I think she will be the best of this lot with time.
Race Two: Polytrack Gothic Stakes 1400m
Tempo- Near 49 for the first 800m of the race so it was a beautiful front running ride from Jake Noonan, and credit to Craig Williams on Snitzepeg to be comfortable outside him. That was the end of the race for those behind.
Big Tick- Mactier did a good job from the back to close off as he did I thought, clocking the fastest 600/400/200 of the race in seemingly the worst part of the track. Good bounce back to form.
Future- Oh it’s all about Octabello here. I’m declaring him to win the Carbine Club and beat Kaonic. Clocked the fastest 1200/1000/800/600 and then he got in a pocket. Still ran quick splits last 400m despite being under a hold.
Race Three: New Zealand Bloodstock Ethereal Stakes 2000m
Tempo- Around 62 for the first 1000m. Once Baster crossed on Pinot up the hill, he put the brakes on between the 1400m-800m, running around 37.5. Once she got that breather, it was game over.
Big Tick- Teodora went enormous here despite a slaughter from Zahra. Barrier four and he had it three wide the entire trip. Had no right to close off like she did. fourth quickest last 600m of the race. That gutbuster might put her out of the Oaks race but.
Future- I think from an Oaks perspective, Hiyaam might be the one out of this race. Had a nice run behind the speed and was very one paced when Pinot dashed, but she stuck on really well and wasn’t far off. Flemington 2500m will be perfect.
Race Four: Ladbrokes Classic 2000m
Tempo- Just replace Pinot with Cliff’s Edge. Tick over 62 for the first 1000m. Beautifully judged ride on speed by Johnny Allen and once he dashed on the turn, he was always in control. Those from the back couldn’t come on.
Big Tick- He’s a bludger, but Eshtiraak found the line well again, clocking the fastest sectionals from the 1600m onwards. Crying out for the Derby and I think he’ll be a leading chance.
Future- I think we can be forgiving of Main Stage. Just not sure he was entirely happy around Caulfield. He’ll be better suited at Flemington. Tangled is also ticking over beautifully for the Derby.
Race Five: Priceline Pharmacy Coongy Cup 2000m
Tempo- Around 63.5 for the first 1000m, so Oliver could not have rated Samovare any better on speed. The mare was given every chance. Just didn’t have the turn of foot that Kiwia had.
Big Tick- Given the tempo, it’s all credit to Kiwia from the back. Ran the fastest sectionals from the 1400m mark. Ran some of the faster splits of the stayers for the afternoon and was dominant. Bendigo Cup is his to lose.
Future- Maurus was much better here. The key to him is finding a track with give in it and if that does occur during Cup Week or wherever John Thompson places him, he can win. In terms of sacking, Assign is the obvious.
Race Six: Ladbrokes Moonga Stakes 1400m
Tempo- First 800m in around 48 so it was an even speed for the 1400m contest. Saville Row got a breather between the 1000m-600m before the pressure came on.
Big Tick- Burning Front went very good here I thought. Olly went for it on Echo Effect before the turn and the pressure went right on but Burning Front just kept finding and it only took stablemate Ulmann, who had the suck run behind, to nail him.
Future- All Our Roads clearly. Fastest last 800m of the race but just ran out of condition the final 400m according to the splits. That should bring him right on and I am sure there is a race for him at Flemington, or he could head over to WA for the Railway/Kingston Town.
Race Seven: Harrolds Caulfield Sprint 1000m
Tempo- First 400m in 23.10, so they weren’t exactly burning as predicted. Beau Mertens and Winona Costin didn’t overdo it on speed and their runners duly kicked.
Big Tick- All about Snitty Kitty here. Sat on the speed, kicked off it, went into another and clocked sub 33 for her final 600m. She was dominant. No excuses for the rest.
Future- Not sure if she can win a race, but Missrock was a sleeper out the back. Clocked the fastest final 600m of the race and indeed for the day. Just found them too sharp. Up in trip, she can go close next time.
Race Eight: BMW Caulfield Cup 2400m
Tempo- Truly run Caulfield Cup via Katelyn Mallyon on Sir Isaac Newton. Very genuine tempo which gave every runner their chance. Bar Bonneval, who was four/five wide the entire trip.
Big Tick- If you were on Johannes Vermeer, just don’t watch the replay. It was just an utter nightmare if you were on the fav. Ducking/weaving all the way…you could make a case he nearly should have won.
Future- I’m going to declare Marmelo as a moral in the Melbourne Cup. Only bad luck will beat him. His run here was unbelievable given the bias and where he was in the run. Had no hope, but still rattled off the best sectionals clearly.
Race Nine: Schweppes Tristarc Stakes 1400m
Tempo- Sub 48 for the first 800m, so it was a decent clip in front set by Ben Melham on Savanna Amour. Global Glamour was comfortable outside the in form Meagher runner.
Big Tick- Outstanding training effort by the Waterhouse/Bott team to get Global Glamour ready to win first up against a crack bunch of mares. Was there to be beaten but she kept finding under Tim Clark.
Future- From a Myer perspective, I’m all over Shillelagh. Her effort considering the track pattern was amazing. She rattled home and clocked the fastest sectionals from the 1200m onwards. Petition was very stiff too, but did have the suck near the rail.
Race Ten: Carlton Draught Allnghi Stakes 1100m
Tempo- First 500m of the race was sub 29 so Highly Geared, as she usually does, sets a genuine speed. Prussian Vixen didn’t want to give up the rail so they kept it on most of the way.
Big Tick- Loved the run of Lyuba. Was three/four wide throughout in a fast run race and had every right to drop out but she kept finding. Just bottomed out the final 200m and came to the end of the run. Fuhryk was very impressive, albeit aided by a 12/10 from Williams.
Future- Sneakers was clearly outclassed here but I didn’t mind the way she hit the line late, clocking the sixth fastest final 600m of the race. She’s eligible for provincials still so if placed right she can win.